Welcome back to NXT UK. This week we have something to review as they released a bunch of dark matches featuring members of both NXT rosters. We’ll see Toni Storm, Shayna Baszler, Matt Riddle, Ilja Dragunov, and more in action across 4 matches presented on air for the first time. Let’s get into it, shall we?

Toni Storm defeated Deonna Purrazzo via Storm Zero

The first match came to us courtesy of Download Festival 2019. It was then NXT UK women’s champion Toni Storm defending against the Virtuosa, Deonna Purrazzo. Storm was challenging any woman on any brand so, of course, that meant that the women of NXT would also come to try to strip Storm of her title. The pair started with a series of technical lock-ups that ended with Purrazzo getting into Storm’s head with a headstand escape. Storm answered back with an escape of her own after Purrazzo also locked in a head-scissor. Storm offered a handshake but Purrazzo kicked away the hand and tried to stomp away at Storm. This was foiled by a running dropkick and a series of European Uppercuts. She continued her assault with a half crab and a combo of strikes and kicks ending in a running boot to the chest. This only got two so she went for a corner strike and missed. Purrazzo caught her and hit her with a brutal shoulder breaker. She continued with an arm breaker and a series of stomps to the chest. A slugfest broke out and Purrazzo knocked Storm back to the mat then locked in an inverted Bow and Arrow which transitioned into a seated head scissor. The ref nearly disqualified her Purrazzo for pulling Storm’s hair so she released the hold and stomped on her face. Purrazzo then went back to the arm, slowly bending it back and wrenching on Storm’s fingers before hitting another stomping arm breaker. Storm tried to mount a comeback but Purrazzo caught her into a backbreaker/flatliner combo and locked in a Koji Clutch. Storm escaped and another slugfest ensued. Storm won and hit a trio of German suplexes. Storm tried for Storm Zero but could use her arm so Purrazzo swung her around and pump kicked her in the face. Storm hit back with a headbutt and fell into a two count. Purrazzo relented and caught Storm into a double Armbar but Storm escaped and reached the ropes. Both women got to their feet and ran the ropes. Storm got behind Purrazzo, slugged her with a lariat, and ended it with Storm Zero. This was a great, intense little title fight. It makes me wonder if this is what Purrazzo was doing in dark matches, why the hell wasn’t she on TV more? Airing this after Purrazzo has been released feels very poor taste but hey I’m glad at least one of her best matches since the Mae Young Classic has been seen.

Matt Riddle defeated Ligero via Floating Bro

Next up was an unlikely cross-promotional bout between Ligero and Matt Riddle. It would be the UK vs the US as Britain’s hardest worker took on the original bro. Just who would win when Lucha took on striking power? We got a fist bump start then Riddle instantly hit Ligero with a takedown. The pair locked up and traded holds on the mat. Riddle escaped and went for a PK but was rolled-up for two. Ligero locked in a headlock but Riddle escaped by hitting a Saito Suplex. Ligero instantly popped up, applied the hold again, and hit Riddle with a dropkick. The pair slugged it out then Riddle hit a Gutwrench Suplex. The pair slugged it out again but Riddle dropped Ligero with a Pele kick. He then attacked in the corner and launched Ligero with an Exploder. He continued with a Bro-ton and hit a beautiful Jackhammer (an ode to his favourite wrestler Goldberg?) He hit another Bro-ton and stalled climbing the turnbuckles. That allowed Ligero to pop up and launch him across the ring with a German Suplex. Both men got to their feet where Ligero avoided Riddle’s strikes, chopped him down and hit him with a Hurricanrana on the outside. He followed with the Tornado Stunner but only got two. Ligero continued to punish Riddle with innovative strikes and slams but couldn’t keep him down. Riddle had enough and caught Ligero into a powerbomb/final flash combo then hit Bro-Derick and the Floating Bro for the win. He took on one of Britain’s stalwarts and won in a pretty fun fight to watch.

Shayna Baszler defeated Isla Dawn via Kirifuda Clutch

Next up was a match from Shayna Baszler’s dominant NXT reign where she took on Isla Dawn at NXT Download last year. It would be the Queen of Spades taking on the White Witch of NXT UK. The pair locked up and Baszler drove Dawn into the corner, tripping her on the referee break. Dawn paid her back but, on the break, Baszler swapped their places and tripped her again. Dawn faked Baszler into a roll-up and finally got to trip up Baszler. The pair traded headlocks and Dawn once again rolled up Baszler. She then dropped Baszler with a Suplex, sending the champ to the outside. Dawn missed a baseball slide, took a shot to the kidneys, and was then rammed shoulder first into the steel steps. Baszler threw her back into the ring and started systematically torturing Dawn with strikes and kicks. She then focused on the arm, manipulating joints as she went ending it with the stomp to the arm. Dawn eventually escaped and tried another roll-up but only got two. Baszler went back to punishing Dawn using the ropes and turnbuckles to do so. Dawn tried to fight back but any resistance was quashed quickly. However, she did finally escape a hold, low bridged the champion, and dropped her against the ropes with a single leg dropkick. She followed up with a Saito Suplex but only got two. Dawn went for the half and half but got dropped with a gut wrench facebuster. Dawn kicked Baszler’s head off but got tripped up and caught into the Kirifuda Clutch. This was a predictable match but I liked seeing Isla Dawn get this opportunity and though it wasn’t the smoothest match there was plenty of drama to enjoy.

Ilja Dragunov defeated A-Kid via Torpedo Moscow

Last but not least was a sleeper hit in the making. A-Kid is a technical marvel and he was taking on Ilja Dragunov, one of my personal favourite wrestlers on the planet. These two were about to make magic. The pair locked up and Dragunov drove A-Kid up the turnbuckle. A-Kid took down Dragunov and the pair locked up on the mat. A-Kid continued to run circles around Dragunov and continued to lock him up with several holds. They continued to go back and forth with grapples with A-Kid having a clear advantage. He even managed to match power with Dragunov, turning a hip toss into an armbar. Dragunov escaped with a roll-up but found himself rolled up seconds later. Every time Dragunov looked to be taking the match, A-Kid would catch him off guard and take control. A-Kid was finally knocked down properly when he tried to go for an armbar off Dragunov’s pose but instead got chopped in the chest and hit with a senton. He continued with a running forearm and cartwheel crossbody for two. A-Kid bailed and was kicked back out as he tried to re-enter the ring. Dragunov went top rope and dropped an axe handle onto A-Kid. He missed a second in-ring and had his teeth kicked out. A-Kid followed up with a German and tried for a second. When that failed, he went for a Northern Lights Suplex into an Arm Bar. He locked in a Triangle and narrowly avoided getting dumped over the ropes by Dragunov. They both fell to the mat and both men scored near falls with a crossbody and lariat respectively. Dragunov threw a dazed A-Kid into the corner and flattened him with the Constantine Special. Dragunov tried for a Teardrop Suplex but A-Kid locked in another armbar. This was answered by a flurry of strikes and a kick to the face by Dragunov. He hit the Bridging Teardrop but A-Kid kicked out at two. Dragunov continued to punish A-Kid with chops and knees but A-Kid caught the leg into an ankle lock. The pair kicked each other down and Dragunov struggled to climb the top rope. A-Kid dropped him with a top rope Spanish Fly and drilled him with a kick to the face. Dragunov caught A-Kid with a spinebuster and hit a top rope senton. Torpedo Moscow came next and that was that. This was amazing. Like, seriously amazing. Considering this is a hidden gem, it annoys me it was never at the forefront of NXT UK programming. It was damned amazing. Then again you could say that about everything here.

All images courtesy of NXT UK Twitter Video courtesy of WWE YouTube

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